Jim Messina signs on as campaign adviser to Conservatives — in Britain

August 2, 2013
Jim Messina, who ran President Obama's successful 2012 reelection bid, is now in high demand in the US and abroad. (John Gress — Reuters)
Jim Messina, who ran President Obama's successful 2012 reelection bid, is now in high demand in the United States and abroad. (John Gress — Reuters)

Obama's former campaign manager Jim Messina has signed on as a consultant to Britain's Conservative Party, helping them in their effort to fend off a challenge from the more liberal Labour Party in 2015.

In an e-mail, Messina said he has "long admired Prime Minister [David] Cameron," who is fiscally conservative but liberal on other issues including climate change and foreign assistance.

"While I will not be moving to London, nor will I be managing any type of day to day political operations, I will be offering strategic campaign advice leading up to 2015," he added.

The news was first reported Friday afternoon by BBC News. The Conservatives, also known as the Tories, are in a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats and have come under sharp attack from the left for taking a series of austerity measures to trim the nation's deficit. Cameron and his allies appear to be looking outside Britain for political advice. They hired Australian strategist Lynton Crosby in November.

Since leaving office Messina has set up his own consulting shop, the Messina Group, as well as delivered paid speeches in the United States and abroad. His firm's clients are not strictly political, and include corporate ones such as Caesars Palace casino.

Messina checked with the White House before accepting the contract, according to a White House official who asked not to be identified because of diplomatic sensitivities. The office emphasized that Messina's decision to work for Cameron does not represent "any kind of a signal from the president" regarding Britain's future election.

Messina is not the first Obama adviser to work for Cameron: former White House communications director Anita Dunn, who is now a political consultant in D.C., worked for him in 2010, when the Conservatives successfully unseated Labour.

Dan Balz contributed to this report.

Juliet Eilperin is a White House correspondent for The Washington Post, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.
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